Lipsky wins European Masters in playoff

By Associated PressSeptember 7, 2014, 3:34 pm

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland - An American golfer won the European Masters on Sunday to put himself atop the Asian Tour money list.

David Lipsky's unorthodox par-4 on the first extra hole to beat Englishman Graeme Storm was an appropriate way for the 26-year-old Korean speaker from Los Angeles to earn a career-best ?383,330 ($497,000) payday in the sunbathed Swiss Alps.

With the event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours since 2008, the winner's prize lifted Lipsky clear in the money list.

''It feels great,'' said Lipsky, the first winner here from Asia's tour and the first American winner since Craig Stadler in 1985. ''I've played well the last couple of weeks and to put it all together is really something special.''

His difficult route to the 18th green went via a fairway bunker and thick rough well short of the putting surface. An exceptional chip shot left a 2-foot putt for victory.

That strategy came after Storm, the overnight leader, sliced his tee shot wide right and could only chip out sideways before making a bogey-5.

''I was just playing percentages,'' said Lipsky of his cautious second shot. ''I didn't mean to hit it in the rough. I overshot my mark by a little bit.''

Still, Lipsky had already played the 18th perfectly in regulation to earn the playoff chance.

His wedge approach shot left a tap-in to complete a final-round 65, playing in the second-last group.

Storm missed a 30-foot putt for victory on the final hole and carded 68. Both had 18-under totals of 262 on the 6,848-yard (6,262-meter) Severiano Ballesteros course

Ballesteros would surely have approved of Lipsky's adventurous 65 that included an eagle-2, six birdies and three bogeys, with a couple of 3-putts thrown in the mix.

Lipsky has taken a path less traveled in his own career, via Northwestern University, Illinois, to the Asian tour where he first won in 2012 in the Cambodian Classic.

''I have a little bit of east meets west,'' said Lipsky, whose father is American and mother is from Seoul, South Korea. ''I speak a little bit of Korean. It definitely helped the transition to Asia and made me feel comfortable.''

His $645,770 winnings this season are more than double those of the next player on the Asian Tour money list - Anirban Lahiri of India, who tied for 13th, seven shots back.

Victory also took Lipsky into the top 150 of the world rankings, from No. 369, and earned a European Tour exemption through 2016.

''It has really developed me as a player,'' Lipsky said of the Asian circuit. ''Now, with European Tour status, I'll have to think about different scheduling.''

Another young American, Brooks Koepka, and Tyrrell Hatton of England tied for third trailing by one shot after shooting 67 and 65, respectively.

The 24-year-old Koepka, who plays on the European Tour, shared the lead until making bogey-5 at the 17th, after his tee shot found a bunker.

On another low-scoring day in the thin mountain air, a 67 from European Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson of Wales was only enough to place seventh, three shots back.

Two other members of Europe's team to face the United States at Gleneagles, Scotland, were never in contention Sunday. Victor Dubuisson of France shot 72 to finish 10 shots back, and defending champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark had a 68 to be 12 shots out.

Frenchman Romain Wattel had a hole-in-one at the 11th, one day after Storm claimed the $186,000 hybrid sports car on offer there.

Storm, seeking his first victory since 2007, stayed in front alone until the seventh hole when briefly caught in a three-way tie at 17 under with Lipsky and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, playing in the final group with Storm and Koepka.

Koepka made his move around the turn, easily making birdie at the 633-yard (579-meter) ninth, then picking up another shot on the 10th.

A shootout between Koepka and Storm loomed when both made birdie-4s at the 16th, but the American faltered at the next hole and Lipsky's exceptional birdie on the last forced the playoff.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.